The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University is Oregon's principal source of knowledge relating to agricultural and food systems, and a major source of knowledge regarding environmental quality, natural resources, life sciences, and rural economies and communities worldwide. The College provides undergraduate and graduate education leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and extended education programs throughout Oregon and beyond. Its research programs create knowledge to solve problems and to build a knowledge base for the future. It is a source of information and expertise in integrating and applying knowledge with benefits that are felt in domestic and international settings.
Volume XI, Issue 2
This spring has been one of the most unprecedented, challenging, painful and remarkable times in recent memory.
In March, only a few weeks after the winter issue of The Source was released, our world turned upside down.
Here on campus, Spring term started with remote teaching and across the state, faculty and staff from Corvallis to our extension and experiment stations in all 36 counties began to navigate how to work from home while still serving their teaching, research and outreach missions.
We adapted quickly and the resourcefulness and tenacity of our entire College – its faculty and students – has been nothing short of inspiring. You can see some of our Stay at Home Heroes in this issue to get a glimpse of that resourcefulness.
New approaches to traditional methods became necessary. Some of which we will likely adapt permanently.
I’ve also been amazed to see how deep and important our relationship with the agricultural and natural resource community is across the entire state. A shared crisis tests and strengthens partnerships like ours. As the backbone of our economy, this pandemic has tested our food system like nothing else. And our researchers have been working hand-in-hand with industry to identify new market opportunities, address supply chain issues, provide guidance on safety protocols, create access to foods for communities hit hardest by the pandemic, and assist with workforce training. We will continue to invest in that partnership as we always have – as the state’s land grant institution – as we work toward economic recovery and new opportunities in the months to come. Because we are all in this together.
More recently, we’ve all been reminded of the painful truth of systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent outpouring of grief across the nation. Personally, I feel called to task to acknowledge my white privilege and take intentional action in dismantling racial inequities for our black and brown faculty, students, alumni, partners, neighbors, and friends. But good intentions are not enough. We must take action. And in a recent memo to our College faculty and staff, I made it clear that we will be taking action. As individuals, and as an institution.
Finally, it is a bitter-sweet end to an academic year as we say farewell to our graduating students. I have never been more proud of a group of students than I am the Class of 2020 that has endured great uncertainty and had to reset expectations of traditions many anticipated for their entire lives.
Recently, we celebrated our students and faculty with a livestreamed event honoring award winners and all of our graduates. That recording was shared with family and friends across the country and it gave us all an opportunity to pause and reflect not on what we didn’t get to do, but what we did get to do. With hearts of gratitude, our students shared their experiences, our department heads noted their encouragement, and we all concluded with a rousing shared chorus of “Go Beavs!”
In closing, let me just say that as we step into the summer, I will do so inspired by what we can do when we share common goals and embrace our college vision to make tomorrow better.
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station
Our research, teaching and outreach missions are more essential now than ever during a global pandemic that has impacted countless people across the state, the nation, and the world. Below are some examples of the work we’ve done in response to COVID-19, adhering to our enduring land-grant mission.
Scientist mothers face extra challenges in the face of COVID-19 (Scientific American)
Co-authored by Susanne Brander, an ecotoxicologist whose research focuses on the effects of environmental stressors such as pesticides and microplastics—integrating molecular approaches with measurements at the organism and population levels in fish and invertebrates. Susanne is an assistant professor at OSU, with her husband (also faculty) and two young daughters. She is one of the leaders of the 500 Women Scientists Corvallis pod.
Access to credible information is important during any public health crisis. Faculty in the OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food systems are working with community partners to provide current information that is relevant for small farms and local food systems.
The best way to support our farms and food businesses—and ensure that our regional food system is secure, sustainable, and inclusive—is to buy locally grown and raised products.
This pieces features Lauren Gwin, associate director, Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems and Extension Community Food Systems Specialist.
We undertook an analysis that classified pesticide active ingredients by the hazards and risks that they pose, and we identified a list of pesticides that do not require more than basic, single layer PPE (long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and stout shoes, with chemically resistant gloves).
Retirees from the Crop and Soil Science Department have met for coffee at 9:30 am on the first Monday of each month for over a decade. With the advent of COVID-19, we were no longer to meet in person as of the end of March, but like the rest of the world, we discovered Zoom. We discovered that while colleagues from locations outside the Corvallis areas could not justify driving to Corvallis for coffee, they were happy to join us electronically. Coffee participation, by head count, has increased 25%. If anyone with CSS affiliations or affinity would like to join us for coffee, please contact Russ Karow.
Farmers share how they're protecting consumers and what shoppers need to do to stop the spread of COVID-19 while buying produce. “[The farmers market is] also safer because it’s a very short supply chain, and the food is not going through very many hands,” said Lauren Gwin, extension community food systems specialist at OSU.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Nicole Sanchez, horticulture professor in Klamath County, had a closet stuffed with fabric. Now that she’s made and distributed more than 1,500 face coverings, the stash has dwindled dramatically.
More than 17,600 people – at a growing clip of about 1,000 more each day – are signing up for a vegetable gardening course offered by the Oregon State University Extension Service, as people nationally abide by stay-at-home pandemic orders.
Even weeding helps keep anxiety at bay, said Brooke Edmunds, Oregon State University Extension Service horticulturist. A bonus: This time of year, the moist soil makes weeds easy to pull. It’s an activity that kids can participate in. Use the opportunity to turn weeding into a lesson by explaining what a weed is and why they can be bad for the environment by taking over native habitat.
Heidi Noordjik, Oregon State University's small farms coordinator, said she thinks CSAs are also gaining traction because more people are cooking at home and thinking about how they can support local businesses and producers.
You may be surprised to learn that many infection control products commonly used in healthcare are actually pesticides. Given global challenges with a COVID-19 pandemic, more and more antimicrobial pesticides are being used to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, now called SARS-CoV-2.
This guidance is for the public and professionals to control the COVID-19 virus on surfaces. The coronavirus named "SARS-CoV-2" is the cause of "COVID-19" in people.
Kristyn Vitale, a cat researcher at the Human-Animal Interaction Lab, predicts that most cats will benefit from more time with their humans. “I think many cats prefer to have human companions at home,” she said.
Oregon State University faculty and employees collected more than 12 pallets of personal protective equipment, including nearly 200,000 pairs of gloves and more than 8,000 face masks, and is providing the much-needed supplies to Oregon health care workers confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oregon State University has launched a new project to help determine the prevalence in the Corvallis community of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
As we reflect upon the pain and grief of the past few weeks as the nation responds to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other Black men and women who have had their lives taken away by extreme acts of violence, the College is looking for ways to do a better job of sharing the stories and voices of Black and Brown people in our communities. In that spirit, we are introducing a new section to The Source and our website that elevates the voices of our BIPOC AgSci community – past and present.
Eric Wade, a fisheries social scientist graduate student, wrote, “Your BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of colour] students, faculty, and staff are juggling a lot and many of us have to fight an uphill to feel like we belong in this space.” He added: “The current social climate makes this harder.”
Palmer Patton recognized as earliest identified African American graduate, faculty member at Oregon State
Palmer Patton, graduated from OAC (Oregon Agricultural College) with his bachelor’s degree in 1918 and a master’s degree in 1920.
An ecosystem scientist and an agricultural economist have outlined how agriculture needs to develop a more sustainable land management system through the integration of big data into crop and farmland usage, which they are calling digital agriculture.
Three years of “health check-ups” on Oregon’s summer resident gray whales shows a compelling relationship between whales’ overall body condition and changing ocean conditions that likely limited availability of prey for the mammals, a new study from Oregon State University indicates. (see also Earth.com)
“Our program’s research will help local, state and federal agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, better understand the risk posed by PAHs,” said center director Robyn Leigh Tanguay, an OSU Distinguished Professor and molecular toxicologist in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
The presence of Asian Giant Hornets (AGH) has recently been reported in Washington and Canada. They are a serious pest in Asia, and have the potential to become a serious pest in the United States. Vigilance and monitoring can help AGH from establishing. Find out how to report AGH sightings and where to find additional information here.
Wolves were reintroduced to the park in 1995. The new study shows their predation on elk is a major reason for an increase in the height of willows in northern Yellowstone, said Luke Painter, a wildlife ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study.
A new paper classifying over 650 pesticides by human and environmental health risks gives pesticide applicators a starting point in choosing alternative, lower-risk products in areas where personal protective equipment is in short supply.
In 2010, it seemed that biology textbooks would have to be rewritten. At the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, in one of the most extreme environments on Earth, one research team found evidence of an animal able to live its entire life without oxygen.
“This study is really important because it gets rid of some of those questions about the age and growth patterns of whale sharks,” says Taylor Chapple, a research scientist specializing in sharks at Oregon State University.
Researchers including David Noakes, professor of fisheries and wildlife at OSU and the director of the Oregon Hatchery Research Center, subjected juvenile chinook salmon to a type of brief but strong magnetic pulse known to reverse the polarity of magnetic particles and affect magnetic orientation behavior in other animals.
Amazing drone footage shows blue whales swimming to the surface of the ocean to feed on krill as study reveals this practice helps them conserve energy (Daily Mail)
Experts from Oregon State University found that feeding on the ocean's surface plays an important role in the hunt for food among New Zealand blue whales.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Robin Frojen, whose day job involves working with delicious cheeses at the OSU Creamery, was well positioned to assist some of Corvallis’ most vulnerable residents.
A team led by Oregon State University scientists has developed a way to potentially thwart the spread of a disease-causing bacterium that harms more than hundred plant species worldwide, an advance that could save the nursery industry billions of dollars a year.
Management Techniques to Optimize Soil pH and Nutrient Availability in Organic Highbush Blueberry Grown East of the Cascade Range: A summary
By: Alex Gregory and Dr. Scott Lukas
The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a leader in blueberry production. In 2019 Oregon and Washington sent a combined 317 million pounds to market, accounting for 47% of blueberries produced in the US and 19% of total global production.
Bringing Wi-Fi to Farmland: AgSci IT Director Joins National FCC Task Force to Connect Rural America
An Oregon State University IT professional will serve on a new FCC project designed to address internet connectivity on farmland. An OSU alum, Lucas Turpin has worked in IT at Oregon State for 20 years, serving as Director of IT for the College of Agricultural Sciences for the past five. His appointment on the recently formed Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force, a Federal Communications Commission project aiming to support investment in high-speed internet across ag lands, will last two years.
The blue, discovered in 2009 by Oregon State University chemist Mas Subramanian, was the first new blue pigment developed in more than 200 years. Subramanian made the discovery accidentally while trying to create new materials to use in electronics.
Oregon State University announced that it will no longer require freshman applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission, starting with fall term 2021.
Oregon State University will establish its own police force by July 1, the day after the university’s law enforcement contract with the Oregon State Police expires.
The tuition freeze applies to undergraduate students already enrolled at OSU’s Corvallis and Bend campuses, according to a press release. It applies to students taking classes during summer term and for the 2020-21 academic year.
Oregon State University has tapped a retired state trooper with campus law enforcement experience from Connecticut to oversee the formation of a professional police force at OSU.
Oregon State University is preparing plans to resume in-person instruction in late summer and fall term on its campuses in Corvallis and Bend, pending state authorization.
After an exhaustive national search over more than six months, the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Staci Simonich as its new Executive Associate Dean starting April 15.
Reporting to Dean Alan Sams, Simonich will join the dean’s leadership team, providing oversight of departments, branch experiment stations, and the integration of the teaching, research, and extension mission areas of the College. Her leadership will also include responsibilities for leading strategic initiatives for the College and for developing and managing the administration of College policies.
“This is a critical role to the future of the College,” said Sams. “We are all excited about the vision, experience, and passion Dr. Simonich brings and feel fortunate to have her joining the team. It is particularly significant that she will be the first woman to hold this position in the College’s history.”
Following an extensive national search, long-standing OSU graduate, faculty member and professor of 28 years, Dr. Tom Chastain, has been named the new Department Head for Crop and Soil Science.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a department with such a deep bench of talented, innovative researchers and teachers,” Chastain said.
We are pleased announce that after an extensive national search, Dr. Carol Lorenzen has been selected as the new head of our Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department effective July 1, 2020.
“The opportunity to find more ways to bring different disciplines and experts together to tackle complex challenges is inspiring," Dr. Lorenzen said.
After a year of planning and consultation and as part of the College’s overall strategic planning, the Dean’s office introduced a new structure effective May 1. This structure aims to better align capabilities and expertise of existing talent with defined goals and critical functions for the College. Unit leaders across the College have been involved in this process so can help guide questions and needs to the appropriate person.
On a regular day, Blaine is one of the main players in making sure that BPP runs smoothly, but this is even more true during the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of us are safely working from home, Blaine is one of the essential workers who is making sure that BPP and Cordley Hall run smoothly.
Skip is the Ranch Foreman and Herdsman at EOARC Burns. When “Shelter at Home” was announced, EOARC was in the midst of calving season, flood irrigation was occurring, and Skip was (and is) responsible for making sure all of our 300 cows and calves and other livestock are properly cared for.
Pami Monnette is the the Lincoln County Small Farms/Home Horticulture Program Coordinator. Pami developed the Lincoln County Local Food Guide, which aims to provide community members with all of the resources they need to eat farm fresh foods from Lincoln County growers, ranchers, and fishers.
Early Career Excellence Award
Congrats to BEE researcher Priyadarshini Chakrabarti Basu for being awarded the Early Career Excellence Award from the Entomological Society of America!!
2020 Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences
Matthew Kennedy has been selected as recipient of the 2020 Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences in the Teaching and Student Engagement category.
Congratulations! This award will be presented on Monday, June 22 at 4:10pm PDT during the Western Region Joint Summer Meeting online.
2020 Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences
Alec Kowalewski has been selected as recipient of the 2020 Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences in the Regional Teacher category.
Congratulations! This award will be presented on Monday, June 22 at 4:10pm PDT during the Western Region Joint Summer Meeting online.
The CAS Ambassador team has had a busy and productive year and this unprecedented spring term of sheltering in place hasn’t stopped them from engaging prospective and current students in a variety of ways.
Ambassador team members have represented CAS at countless events and supported recruitment efforts on-campus, around the state, and beyond.
This spring term marks the end of the service period of the 2019/2020 Ambassador Team. Check out the CAS Ambassador Website to learn more about the future Ambassador team members.
Effective Monday, March 30, and throughout spring term, all OSU campus instruction will be conducted remotely. This includes academic labs, testing during the term, and final examinations. Ecampus instruction remains unchanged.
Gillette Field, Bioresource Research
Burlingham Undergraduate Student of Excellence Award
Sage Conner Fox, Fisheries and Wildlife
CAS Outstanding Senior Award
Cailin Mackenzie, Fisheries and Wildlife
Savery Outstanding Master's Student Award
Samara Haver, Fisheries and Wildlife
Savery Outstanding Doctoral Student Award
While the full impact of COVID-19 on our student community is still unfolding, it has already significantly disrupted their lives, resulting in unexpected financial needs. Give now to help our students meet their needs during this uncertain time and stay on track to graduate.
Emily Carlson, a PhD student in the Department of Horticulture, was selected as a 2020 USDA Future Leader. She visited Washington, DC, where she hung out with our Secretary of Agriculture. Read her great and wonderful essay that she won her this honor - very short and really gets to the point of how we need to talk to stakeholders about pollinator issues.
Please join us in congratulating Emily!
Last fall, Dr. Lisa Ballance took the helm as the new director of the Marine Mammal Institute (MMI) at Oregon State University. Ballance succeeded Bruce Mate, who retired after serving as director of MMI since its inception in 2006.
The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. With this global spotlight on plant health, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness on the ways that protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development. Here in the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU, we have world class research, teaching, and outreach programs in plant health to feature. In honor of that work, we have launched a spotlight series on our plant health work that will run throughout 2020.
SOIL 511: “Soil: A Natural and Societal Resource”, was co-taught by Leon H. Liegel and Dr. Richard Roseberg in the 2019 and 2020 Winter terms. It purposely serves degree- and non-degree-seeking graduate learners wanting soil science knowledge but having a minimal science background.
Linda Brewer translates research findings into Extension publications so this information is meaningful to commercial growers and home gardeners. Through our publications, we've added practical science and solutions to the larger body of plant health research.
The focus of our weed science group is to study why weeds behave the way they do, and what farmers can do to reduce their interference. Our goal is to identify sustainable solutions for weed problems so farmers can maximize their profits while minimizing environmental impact.
Kathleen Caprario, bioDIVERSITY: Water Patterns 1, 2017. Mixed media on panel, 12” x 48”. 2017 Roy D. Nielsen and Margaret Hogg Art About Agriculture Purchase Award.
June 27, 2020 (Saturday): Application Deadline
July 14, 2020 (Tuesday): Selection and non-selection notices emailed to artists. Selected artists will receive an OSU Personal Property Loan Agreement form via DocuSign, to be completed by the artist.
August 4, 2020 (Tuesday): Deadline to receive artwork, packing container CV, artist statement, and OSU PPLA form.
August 18, 2020 (Tuesday): Notices emailed of jurors’ final selections for Tour 2020 and awards.
September 3, 2020 (Thursday): Opening event for the 37th Annual Art About Agriculture exhibition with an artist’s reception and awards presentation at Giustina Gallery, The LaSells Stewart Center, Oregon State University.
Hunger in the U.S. and around the world is on the rise. Beyond longstanding levels of hunger, the pandemic is putting millions more at risk. This, when groups like Bread for the World indicate that hunger should be entirely preventable.
While all kinds of traditional tools – science-centered, environmentally-attuned, economically-savvy, and/or culturally appropriate – are being used to reduce hunger, headway in this struggle is going to require help from all quarters, including the arts. That’s why I started an informal initiative called Poetry X Hunger – to enlist the help of poets in the fight against hunger.
Dr. Te May Ching passed away on April 21st. She was a pioneering faculty member in the Department of Crop and Soil Science and served as professor of seed physiology in CSS from 1956 until her retirement in 1988.
She was only the second woman to be elected Fellow in both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. Dr. Ching’s amazing career and many accomplishments were chronicled in an Agronomy Journal article titled, ”A Century of Women in Agronomy: Lessons from Diverse Life Stories”. Her story is compelling, so I have attached the article for your reading pleasure.
The organization currently has about 260 listed friends and alumni members out of approximately 18,000 CAS alumni. The organization is planning to provide approximately $40,000 to support 17 CAS student clubs, $20,000 to support intern programs, and $17,500 to support undergraduate research programs plus assistance with funding several smaller requests for the 20-21 academic year. These funds are made available through five education and endowment funds currently totaling about $2.5 million within the E.R. Jackman organization.